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Many of the issues facing our country are extraordinarily complex and nuanced. In order to understand these policy issues and the various perspectives around them, elected leaders, government staff, the public, industry, and nonprofits must first have an objective basic knowledge that is rooted in fact. Center Forward’s Basics series presents complicated issues in a non-partisan and easy-to-understand manner.

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Technology Transfer Explained: The Bayh-Dole Act and March-In Rights

Intellectual Property Manufacturing Technology

The University and Small Business Procedures Act of 1980, commonly known as the “Bayh-Dole Act,” empowers recipients of federal funding, primarily public universities and start-up businesses, to retain ownership of their inventions generated from that funding. If, however, the commercialization of the invention fails to meet certain standards, the government agency that issued the grant can invoke “march-in” rights, and mandate the patent holder issue additional licenses to allow others to practice the patented invention. Recently, consumer advocates have petitioned the government to use march-in rights as a means to lower drug prices, and the White House, Department of Commerce, and Department of Health and Human Services released a draft revision of the criteria to exercise march-in rights.

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Rare Diseases / Orphan Drug Act

Health Care

With the Orphan Drug Act (ODA) entering its forty-first year in 2024, advocates and lawmakers are taking stock of the United States’ progress in treating patients with rare diseases. Today, patients with rare diseases have shorter diagnostic journeys and more viable treatments than ever before. Despite this progress, hurdles continue as the gap between conditions and treatments remains large, and the power of the ODA has decreased over time. Lawmakers and experts are searching for solutions that will align incentives, improve the supply chain, and foster an ecosystem that will provide more options for patients. In this Basic, we will give an overview of the ODA, its impact, how it has changed over time, and what changes could be made in the future.

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A More Sustainable Future – Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Climate & Sustainability Infrastructure

In the post-pandemic era, airlines have experienced a significant resurgence in passenger traffic as travel restrictions eased and many resumed air travel. Accompanying this beneficial surge in air travel comes a rise in emissions, and the environmental concerns that follow them. Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) has emerged as an environmentally conscious choice for airlines, specifically those who are looking to lower their carbon footprint.

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R&D Amortization

Financial Services Health Care

U.S. companies spend over six hundred billion dollars each year on innovative research and development (R&D). This substantial investment impacts virtually every sector of the U.S. economy, driving advancements and breakthroughs that impact our daily lives and play a crucial role in societal progress and economic growth.

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A New Approach — The Child Tax Credit


In the realm of financial policy, the Child Tax Credit stands as a cornerstone, playing a pivotal role in providing essential economic relief to American families with dependent children. In 1997, the Child Tax Credit was initiated during the Clinton administration as a partially refundable credit. It is a nonrefundable tax credit offered to taxpayers with dependent children aged under 17, capable of diminishing tax liability on a dollar-for-dollar basis, potentially erasing the tax debt entirely.

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Energy & Horticulture — The 2023 Farm Bill

Food & Beverage

The Farm Bill’s twelve titles include: commodities, conservation, trade, nutrition, credit, rural development, research, forestry, energy, horticulture, crop insurance, and a miscellaneous title that includes issues like beginning farming, socially disadvantaged farmers, veteran farmers and ranchers, agricultural labor safety, workforce development, and livestock health.

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The Impact of a Government Shutdown — 2023


Numerous federal government agencies and initiatives depend on yearly funding allocations approved by Congress. Annually, Congress must pass budget legislation for the upcoming fiscal year, consisting of 12 spending bills, one for each subcommittee overseeing appropriations.

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Nourishing the Nation — The 2023 Farm Bill

Food & Beverage

The 2023 Farm Bill presents Congress with a unique opportunity to enhance food and nutritional security through federal nutrition assistance programs, ensuring all Americans have equitable access to affordable, nutritious foods.

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